Bayern Munich have confirmed Lucas Hernandez suffered ligament damage when he injured his ankle in the 3-2 Champions League win over Olympiacos.

Hernandez was forced from the field before the hour mark in Greece in a fresh blow to Bayern's thinning defensive stocks.

The left-sided France international faces "several weeks" out, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said on Tuesday, although the club have not confirmed an exact timescale.

The latest in a series of injury problems for 23-year-old Hernandez comes less than a week after first-choice centre-back Niklas Sule underwent surgery on a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"[Hernandez] suffered a partial rupture of the inner ligament on the right ankle," Bayern announced.

"This resulted from an investigation by the medical department to club doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt."

Hernandez had only recently returned from a knee injury that saw him become the subject of a club-versus-country row when he was called up to France's squad for the Euro 2020 qualifying double-header against Iceland and Turkey despite Bayern's wishes for him to recover at the club.

There was better news for Bayern in regards to Javi Martinez and Serge Gnabry, though.

Spain midfielder Martinez was taken off at half-time against Olympiacos but Bayern said he "only suffered neurogenic muscle hardening".

Gnabry took a knock to the knee in the fixture, but both are to take part in reduced training in the next few days.

Maurizio Sarri believes Italian football is more professional than the English game but admits the financial disparity between the two countries makes it tough for Serie A sides to challenge in Europe.

Sarri's Juventus continued their quest for a first Champions League crown since 1996 with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Lokomotiv Moscow on Tuesday.

The other Italian team in action on the same day, Atalanta, lost 5-1 to Premier League champions Manchester City despite going ahead at the Etihad Stadium.

Meanwhile, Juve's nearest title rivals, Inter, are bottom of Group F ahead of Wednesday's game against Borussia Dortmund.

A report from Deloitte released in January 2019 placed six Premier League clubs in Europe's top 10 for revenue, with Juve ranked 11th.

 

Now back in his homeland following a season in charge of Chelsea, Bianconeri boss Sarri views the level of riches of English football as a difficult obstacle to overcome.

"I think we are at the same level of the other European teams, even if we are behind English football right now from an economic point of view," Sarri said after the victory over Lokomotiv.

"Their strength is the money coming into the game. They earn four times what our clubs earn and this is a benefit for all the clubs. I think we are better as professionals but now this is not enough.

"I don't know if our football can be competitive in Europe but I feel that the wind is changing.

"Not long ago a 3-0 scoreline in Serie A would mean game over, but today the teams have an English mentality, they try to equalise and turn the result around.

"I think this is good and I hope our team will continue [with this attitude] throughout the season."

Paulo Dybala's late brace sealed Juve's home win over the Russian visitors and maintained the club's place atop Group D, which also includes Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen.

Luis Suarez is bidding to end a miserable run in away Champions League matches as Barcelona travel to play Slavia Prague in one of eight games on Wednesday.

Barca earned an important win over Inter on matchday two but still have work to do to progress from a competitive Group F that also contains Borussia Dortmund, who face Antonio Conte's side this time around.

Chelsea travel to play Group H pace-setters Ajax in Amsterdam, having got their campaign back on track with a win against Lille last time out.

Liverpool trail Napoli in Group E but will be confident of defeating Genk after edging a thrilling contest against Salzburg 4-3 at Anfield three weeks ago.

Below, we have highlighted the key data ahead of Wednesday's contests.

RB Leipzig v Zenit

7 - RB Leipzig's last seven Champions League results have alternated between a win and a defeat. They lost their last match 2-0 at home to Lyon.

10 - Zenit are winless in their last 10 away European matches (including qualifiers), drawing three and losing seven since beating Real Sociedad 3-1 in a Europa League match back in December 2017.
 

Ajax v Chelsea

5 -  If he scores against Chelsea, Quincy Promes will become the fifth Dutchman in the history of the European Cup/Champions League to score in three consecutive appearances for Ajax. The others are Johan Cruyff (April 1969), Ruud Geels (November 1977), Ruud Krol (October 1979) and Patrick Kluivert (October 1995). 

8 - Since losing 3-0 at Barcelona in March 2018, Chelsea have lost none of their eight away European matches (W6 D2 L0), their longest ever unbeaten away run on the continent.
 

Salzburg v Napoli

0 -  This is the first Champions League encounter between an Austrian team and an Italian side since December 2005, when Juventus won 3-1 away at Rapid Vienna. A team from Austria have never beaten an Italian outfit in the Champions League (W0 D1 L7).

19 – Including qualifiers, Salzburg have not lost any of their last 19 home European matches (W15 D4 L0), winning the last six in a row.
 

Genk v Liverpool

14 - Should Genk fail to defeat Liverpool, they will set a record for games played in the European Cup/Champions League without winning. They have played 14 so far (W0 D8 L6), level with Floriana and Shamrock Rovers.

1 – Liverpool have won only one of their last 10 away Champions League group-stage matches (W1 D3 L6), losing each of the last four in a row.
 

Benfica v Lyon

10 - No French side has ever won an away European match against Benfica in 14 attempts (W0 D4 L10), with 10 different teams failing to win.

2 – Lyon are looking to win consecutive away Champions League matches in the same campaign for the first time since 2009, when they beat Debreceni and Liverpool.
 

Inter v Borussia Dortmund

6 - Inter are winless in six European matches against German opposition (W0 D1 L5) since a 3-2 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League in March 2011.

2 – Dortmund have only conceded two goals in their last eight Champions League group stage matches, keeping clean sheets in seven of those matches.
 

Slavia Prague v Barcelona

4 – This is the first meeting between the two sides in Europe, though Barcelona have won all four of their previous Champions League meetings against Czech opponents.

19 – Suarez scored twice against Inter on MD2 in Barcelona's 2-1 victory, but the Uruguay striker is goalless in his last 19 away Champions League matches, attempting 59 shots without success since a goal against Roma in September 2015.
 

Lille v Valencia

6 - Lille are yet to defeat a Spanish team in the Champions League in six attempts (W0 D3 L3), facing Deportivo de La Coruna, Villarreal and Valencia previously without success.

11 – Valencia have failed to score in seven of their last 11 Champions League matches. Prior to that run, they had been unable to score in just seven of their previous 33 in the competition.

Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva heaped praise on hat-trick hero Kylian Mbappe after his record-breaking Champions League display.

Mbappe came off the bench and scored three goals in a devastating performance as PSG routed Club Brugge 5-0 on Tuesday.

The PSG sensation became the youngest player to score 15 Champions League goals aged 20 years, 306 days, eclipsing Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi – who was 21 years, 288 days.

Silva hailed Mbappe, telling reporters: "He is well present, he is ready, he has gifts, I can't tell you more because he is an incredible player.

"I'm very happy for him, for the team, for the way we played today. In the first half it was very difficult, we knew it, but in the second half we were much more effective.

"We had chances, we scored. Especially Kylian this player is magnificent."

PSG were ruthless in Brugge, where the Ligue 1 holders made it three wins from three games in Group A as they closed in on the knockout round.

Mauro Icardi opened the scoring in the seventh minute, before Mbappe doubled the lead within nine minutes of his second-half introduction.

Mbappe supplied the assists for Icardi's second of the match in the 63rd minute, while the former took centre stage with another two goals to take home the match ball.

"We won a very tough game," PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel said. "Very complicated. The result is exceptional.

"It's never easy to win against Brugges in Brugges. In the Champions League outside it's never easy. We scored five goals, it's really exceptional. It's a big step forward for the qualification [for the last 16]."

Diego Simeone said he was pleased after Atletico Madrid ended their winless run at home by defeating Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.

Atletico had gone four home matches in all competitions without a win prior to Tuesday's 1-0 victory over German visitors Leverkusen in Madrid.

Simeone's side had also only scored once in their previous three fixtures at Wanda Metropolitano, where Alvaro Morata's 78th-minute header settled the Group D contest.

"I feel good when I see passion and the team had it," head coach Simeone told reporters when asked about his mood after Atletico joined Juventus on seven points atop the group.

"The team knew what they were playing at. We could play badly or well, but they knew what to play at. There was a way and when we're on it, we're closer to things coming out."

"We try to face each game as if it were the last, either Copa del Rey, LaLiga or Champions League," Simeone, whose Atletico are fifth and three points adrift of LaLiga leaders Barcelona, said. "We don't stop to think about what might happen four games ahead.

"We focus game by game, that's the way we look into this matter. We knew today [Tuesday] was an important game, against a rival, that plays very well. Certainly, you had to make a very high concentration effort."

Atletico star Koke – who emerged from the club's youth system in 2009 – was the target of boos in the Spanish capital and Simeone added: "I think people always do what they feel and what they see at that moment. Because this is football.

"I remember the time of Luis Aragones, Caminero, Kiko ... They have booed us all. So in football, when there is moment you're not so good, people want you to play well today, but I am sure every Atletico de Madrid fan will express gratitude for Koke and thank him for what he has done and will do for the club.

"At the moment, like the manager, when we make a mistake. People are spontaneous, and in this moment they react to what they believe. We are the ones who have to look for those boos to become applauses."

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino joked that he will give his players a day off to stop all the rumours about unrest at Spurs following their Champions League victory.

Last season's runners-up Tottenham claimed a confidence-boosting 5-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in London on Tuesday.

Spurs have been unable to reach the lofty heights of last term after a difficult start to 2019-20 – highlighted by a 7-2 humbling against Bayern Munich – amid doubts over Pochettino's future.

There has been speculation that Tottenham players are unhappy with Pochettino's methods following just three wins from nine Premier League matches to start the season but the Argentine boss joked about the rumours post-game.

"I think it's about now staying calm," Pochettino said in his post-game news conference. "It's a good result but only three points. Now we have ahead a lot of tough games that are coming. We need to be solid. I want them to all be fresh that is why tomorrow they are going to have a day off, you know to stop all the rumours [laughs].

"Of course Thursday we are going to start to train and prepare for the game on Sunday. It's going to be a fantastic game. A few months ago we were playing the final against Liverpool and now in Anfield, a great atmosphere, with all the confidence to go there and try to have a very good performance again."

Asked if he is happy with the dynamic, Pochettino – who has been linked to Real Madrid and Manchester United – told reporters: "I am not happy and not not happy. I am facing the situation how the situation is, the situation we are living now.

"Of course, I am very realistic but in the same way it's a massive experience for us, a group that has never before lived this situation. It's all new.

"We have more experience because we're older men, Jesus is more than me, more experienced than me, but I think it's a great moment to grow, be more mature and of course it should help us to be stronger in the future."

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min led the way with braces, while Erik Lamela was also on target against Red Star and Pochettino added: "It was so important, an important result for our confidence and to add three points in the table for us was very, very important tonight. Of course very pleased.

"After the second half against Watford I was happy, not great as I told you, now the same, not great but good. I feel good. We start to see that it's only time that we need to recover our best feelings.

"We need to build that confidence of course. We need to go step by step, being solid again and that is only the first step, like the second half at Watford, to build again our confidence and try to perform in the way that we and everyone expect."

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said Lucas Hernandez will be sidelined for "several weeks" after suffering an ankle injury in Tuesday's Champions League victory.

Hernandez was forced from the field before the hour mark in Bayern's hard-fought 3-2 win away to Olympiacos as the team's defensive crises worsened.

Having already lost centre-back Niklas Sule to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Bayern suffered a huge blow when record signing Hernandez hobbled off in Greece.

"He will be out for a long time. Several weeks," Salihamidzic told Sport1 following the match against Olympiacos.

On Hernandez, who was seen leaving the stadium on crutches, Bayern head coach Niko Kovac added: "Hernandez has problems with his ankle. We have to see whether the ligament was also affected.

"He has severe pain on the inside of his ankle; that's why we had to take him out. It's very frustrating."

Javi Martinez – who has been ravaged by injuries – was also substituted at half-time due to a muscle complaint.

"Martinez had a muscular problem in the first half, we didn't want to take any risks, so we reacted," Kovac said.

Robert Lewandowski was the hero as his two goals ensured Bayern stayed perfect with three wins from three games in Group B.

Bayern had fallen behind following Youssef El-Arabi's 27th-minute opener, but the Bundesliga champions rallied via Lewandowski and Corentin Tolisso before Guilherme's late strike set up a nervy finish.

"Our opponents did a really good job today. They put up a fight over 90 minutes in a great atmosphere here at the stadium. At the end of the day it was a hard-earned victory," said Kovac.

"We're still satisfied because we now have nine points, we have one foot in the last sixteen. That's our goal."

Pep Guardiola has no doubt hat-trick hero Raheem Sterling can continue to improve but lauded the Manchester City star as "perfect" after his side's 5-1 Champions League demolition of Atalanta.

City fell behind to Ruslan Malinovskiy's penalty at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, but Sterling teed up Sergio Aguero to restore parity six minutes later in Manchester.

Sterling then won a penalty for Aguero to nose City ahead before half-time in the Group C clash, with the former running riot in the space of 11 second-half minutes.

England international Sterling should have added to his tally, but failed to finish when one-on-one with Pierluigi Gollini, though manager Guardiola hailed a faultless display from the winger – who has scored 12 goals in all competitions so far this season. 

"We were together for four years and I answered many times this question," Guardiola told a news conference when asked to comment on Sterling's development into a world class player.

"The credit is just for him. All of the credit. He can be better but he is perfect.

"His physicality, he is strong, he could play a game the day after a game, his regeneration is so strong. He is an extraordinary player. 

"He can play both sides, defensively he helps us a lot. He is an incredible player. It depends on him but he has the desire to do better."

Having slammed home from Phil Foden's tee-up just before the hour, Sterling raced onto Ilkay Gundogan's throughball to lash in his second before completing his hat-trick with a tap in from Riyad Mahrez's cross.

Sterling, however, conceded he should have helped himself to a fourth as he aims to become more clinical with his chances.

"It was difficult, especially them going man-to-man all over the pitch, so we had to stay patient," he told BT Sport.

"I should have had four. Riyad set me up for the last one and I wanted to see if he was anywhere close to lay one on a plate for him. But yes, I've got to finish them off.

There's no point scoring goals if you let in easy ones, so the penalty was a bit frustrating, but in this competition the good teams will punish you."

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer demanded improvement from his team following their 3-2 Champions League win over Olympiacos.

Two goals from in-form striker Robert Lewandowski helped Bayern make it three consecutive wins in Group B but the Bundesliga side had to endure a nervous finish to Tuesday's match.

Neuer was on hand to make two vital late saves and felt the gloss was taken off the win because of a poor defensive display away to Greek side Olympiacos.

Bayern have conceded 10 goals in eight Bundesliga matches and four in three games in the Champions League.

"The problem at the moment is that we need to score three goals every game to win because we keep conceding two," Neuer told UEFA.com.

"We made it difficult for ourselves again and didn't have enough conviction.

"We need to continue working on that, analysing and seeing what we can do better."

Bayern defender Benjamin Pavard felt the team's defence have improved in recent weeks, but acknowledged there was work to be done on the training ground.

Pavard said: "I believe that we made some progress defensively compared to previous matches. 

"The second goal today was bad luck, a deflected shot wrongfooting Manuel. We took these three points and will work harder to concede less goals.

"We knew it would be a tough match here. Olympiacos' fans didn't stop pushing their team until the last minute. We did concede the opener but didn't panic. 

"We played good football and achieved our aim to win the three points. Now we have to prepare for the reverse tie at home, in two weeks. It's an important game; if we win, we will qualify."

Bayern striker Lewandowski showed typical predatory instincts as he took his tally for the season to 18 goals in club football.

The 31-year-old Poland international netted with two close-range finishes and said his relaxed personality has been a key factor during a prolific spell.

"I know that every single situation on the pitch can prove important and can decide if we win or if we lose," added Lewandowski

"That is why I want to stay focused, calm and do my job. For us it was a very important game, not only because we wanted to keep winning in the Champions League but also because of the dropped points in the league. 

"We knew that with three points here, we would be in a great position to win the next match at home as well and make it to the next round. We want to qualify as quickly as possible."

Zinedine Zidane insisted Eden Hazard's form is nothing to be concerned about after the Belgian put in a disappointing performance in Real Madrid's 1-0 Champions League defeat of Galatasaray.

Hazard's adaptation to life at Madrid has not been as smooth as the two parties would have hoped following his blockbuster move from Premier League side Chelsea in pre-season.

While fitness issues have certainly had an impact, Hazard's performances have left a lot to be desired and he has managed just the solitary goal in seven appearances across all competitions.

He should have scored at least once against Galatasaray in Istanbul on Tuesday and was guilty of a particularly bad miss in the second half, hitting the crossbar with the goal at his mercy after skipping past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Hazard did at least get an assist, albeit fortuitously as his pass was seemingly meant for Karim Benzema rather than goal-scorer Toni Kroos, though head coach Zidane still had to answer questions on the winger.

"It doesn't worry me," Zidane said. "He's better and he's going to improve more.

"The important thing is that he continues to have chances, because he's going to put them in."

Another much-maligned Belgian at the club is goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but he produced one of his better performances in a Madrid shirt, making several vital saves and Zidane applauded him.

"He has clearly saved us in the first half," Zidane said of Courtois. "We are happy for him and for the whole team – he needed that kind of match as well. He allowed us to get all three points.

"There is always a lot of criticism when we lose and today we won, we played with personality and the players have deserved the victory."

The win leaves Madrid second in Group A, five points adrift of pacesetters Paris Saint-Germain, who have won all three matches.

Kylian Mbappe suggested he wanted to prove Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel wrong for not starting him after scoring a second-half hat-trick in the 5-0 destruction of Club Brugge.

PSG star Mbappe was introduced from the bench in Tuesday's Champions League clash and scored three times in the space of 22 minutes, as well as setting up the second of Mauro Icardi's goals.

Mbappe has started just four times in all competitions this term due to thigh and hamstring injuries, but now has four goals in two matches since returning from his latest setback and insisted he feels ready to play a full part in games.

"I wanted to start the game," Mbappe – who became the youngest player to score 15 Champions League goals aged 20 years, 306 days, eclipsing Lionel Messi – told RMC Sport. "I thought I was going to start. The coach made his decision and you must accept it. 

"I wanted to go on the pitch and show that it's hard to do without me. 

"Football is a passion for me - I love to play. It's been two months since I could properly play. It has been very painful. 

"I want to play every game. If you're on the pitch, it's because you can play. I had to be patient but now it's over. It's all behind me. But today's not a victory for Kylian - it's a victory for PSG."

Tuchel saw his side make it three wins from three Champions League matches without conceding in Group A and defended his decision to leave out Mbappe from the start.

"He played 15 minutes in Nice after recovering from a muscle injury," he said. "This is the first time he has not had a muscle reaction after a game, so he could not play 90 minutes. 

"He could start the game and exit after an hour or come on after half-time. It was our decision but that's not why he wanted to show his quality."

Edinson Cavani was an unused substitute on Tuesday and has not featured since August, while fellow forward Neymar is out until next month with a hamstring injury sustained on Brazil duty.

However, Icardi has stepped up during PSG's injury crisis of sorts by scoring five goals in his last four matches, earning him praise from boss Tuchel.

"Mauro Icardi has been exceptional defensively as in every match," he said. "Angel Di Maria too. It's the same with Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani. If everyone is there, in good health, it will be a big challenge to make everyone play. 

"We have to balance the team and think about what's best for the team. At the moment, I feel that we have found that. The challenge is to stay that way."

Pep Guardiola fears Manchester City could be without Rodri for up to a month after he sustained a hamstring injury during the 5-1 Champions League win over Atalanta.

Spain midfielder Rodri, who became the Premier League champions' record signing when he joined from Atletico Madrid in July, was deployed at centre-back alongside Fernandinho for the second time in the space of a week on Tuesday.

In Saturday's 2-0 Premier League win at Crystal Palace, they made light of Guardiola's selection headache in central defence but a missed header against Atalanta saw Rodri's outing unravel.

He got back to tackle Atalanta captain Alejandro Gomez but instantly signalled to the bench that he needed attention.

Guardiola confirmed after the match that his player's complaint was hamstring-related, with the severity to be determined.

"Tomorrow we will know," City manager Guardiola said. "Hopefully [Rodri will be out] between 10 days if it is not broken [torn].

"If it is broken, it will be three weeks or one month.

"It is hamstring, it looks like. When a guy runs and puts his hand in the hamstring position, it is a hamstring."

John Stones, only recently back from his own spell on the sidelines with a thigh injury, came on to provide a more conventional option at the heart of a defence still awaiting the return of Aymeric Laporte from knee surgery.

"It's the first season for Rodri, he's slotted in brilliantly in a new league, a different for him and he's breezed it," the England international told BT Sport.

"Credit to Fernandinho, he's helped him along. We work on playing different positions in training all the time, knowing everyone's jobs and the roles on the pitch, so you can almost play blind when you have the ball.

"It's been good to be back out on the pitch for me on a personal note, [but I'm] upset to see Rodri has a little injury. We'll see how it is."

Before kick-off, City announced they were waiting to discover how serious a knee injury suffered by left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko might prove to be.

Winger Leroy Sane is continuing his rehabilitation from cruciate ligament damage sustained during August's Community Shield clash with Liverpool.

Real Madrid talent Rodrygo Goes was in dreamland after making his Champions League bow against Galatasaray on Tuesday, with his selection taking him by surprise.

The 18-year-old Brazilian arrived from Santos in pre-season in a deal that reportedly cost Madrid €45million.

While he enjoyed plenty of exposure to first-team football in Brazil, Madrid have been using him sparingly, the winger making only two LaLiga appearances and also turning out twice for their second team, Real Madrid Castilla.

However, on evidence of his performance in the 1-0 win in Istanbul, it seems unlikely Rodrygo will be made available to Castilla again, as he looked at home in the senior side in the absence of Gareth Bale.

Coach Zinedine Zidane only informed Rodrygo of his place in the starting XI earlier in the day and, although nervous, the youngster was thrilled to have participated.

"It was only today that the coach told me I was playing," he told reporters. "It was a surprise, I admit, and I was nervous, but I really enjoyed this.

"The coach told me to go out and enjoy the experience, but to concentrate on the defensive duties he'd detailed for me, too.

"My objective now is to go back to Madrid and keep working hard, day by day, and see how far my efforts can take me. Boy, I'm enjoying this, though - it's a bit of a dream come true!"

Rodrygo was not the only young star to feature for Madrid on Tuesday, as compatriot Vinicius Junior came off the bench and Fede Valverde started in midfield.

Left-back Marcelo is happy to see the club putting faith in youth.

"Rodrygo is one of several great young lads - Vinicius, Valverde, too," he said. "It's great to see at our club, but when we lose, we lose together, and when we win, we win together. We needed to improve and we did it."

Victory moved Madrid up to second in Group A with four points, five adrift of Paris Saint-Germain, who have won all three of their matches.

Pep Guardiola insisted nobody trusts Phil Foden more than he does after the Manchester City youngster ended an impressive Champions League display by getting sent off against Atalanta.

Foden made just his second start of the season in Tuesday's Group C meeting, impressing in midfield as City ran out 5-1 winners courtesy of Raheem Sterling's second-half hat-trick and Sergio Aguero's double.

City sensation Foden teed up Sterling's first goal but the 19-year-old's terrific performance was ended prematurely when he received two bookings in the space of six minutes late on.

When asked if Foden still needed to prove anything in order to become a more regular starter, Guardiola told a news conference: "He doesn't need to prove anything to me.

"He would not be here with us. I was the guy who said to him in the academy come here to play with us. There is nobody who trusts Phil more than me. I'm the boss, I decide [who plays].

"We thought it was a game he would have more opportunities to run, on the counter-attack. 

"Phil has these qualities to be box-to-box, at speed. That was the reason why he played, a tactical decision.

"He's a young guy, still a lot to improve. But it is important. Last season in one of the biggest games we had he played against Tottenham, he played so good and today as well.

"Every minute he plays, more experience for him for his future. He played at a high level."

Guardiola did, however, add Foden still has plenty to learn, acknowledging his frustration at the midfielder's red card.

"He will learn," Guardiola said. "Never fine for the player [to get sent off], unless it is for a stupid thing not something that is part of the game.

"He will know after one yellow card you have to be a bit more careful. There are things still where his is far away from David [Silva], far away from [Ilkay] Gundogan and far away from Kevin [De Bruyne].

"He has to live this situation with a yellow card and be careful."

There will be no punishment from Guardiola for Foden's indiscipline, though.

"Absolutely, I will not fine him. Maybe I have to pay him for how well he played," Guardiola said.

The only excuse Sergio Aguero had for clattering an uncharacteristically rash shot into the Manchester City fans behind the goal was the possibility he shared their giddy excitement.

After 24 minutes of the Champions League Group C game against Serie A entertainers Atalanta, Phil Foden had come to the party.

Slipping into a pocket of space in the right channel – the same area of the field from which he tormented the Austria defence for England Under-21s seven days ago, a passage that ended in a robust body check and a viral social media clip – Foden sauntered brilliantly around grizzled centre-back Andrea Masiello to leave a chance on a plate for Aguero.

It was silver service where there is normally Silva service in these parts. Foden is being groomed to be their heir to David Silva when the great Spanish playmaker leaves at the end of this season. Plenty of times during a riotous 5-1 win, the 19-year-old's silken touch suggested all the tools are there.

However, after providing plenty to purr at as he and Ilkay Gundogan effortlessly pulled the midfield strings during the second half came the impetuousness of youth and an avoidable red card. This denies Foden the chance to sharpen his talents in the return game next month.

It is tempting to wonder to what extent it might influence Pep Guardiola's trust, which has not always felt as forthcoming as he claims.

"Absolutely not will I fine him," the City manager replied when asked after the match whether Foden will be financially punished for his indiscretion. "Maybe I have to pay him for how well he played. The important thing for Phil is not the red card, it is the way he played."

Before being selected from kick-off against Atalanta on Tuesday, 90 of Foden's 102 competitive minutes in a City shirt this season had come in an EFL Cup tie at Preston North End.

Guardiola might call the boyhood City fan one of the most talented players he has ever seen but talk is far cheaper than the £500million price tag he would apparently not consider as a worthwhile bid for Foden.

Atalanta shaded the frenetic early stages and led through Ruslan Malinovskyi's penalty shortly after Foden's fleet of foot brought the home crowd to their feet.

Visiting boss Gian Piero Gasperini is an admirer of Guardiola and the sight of his two nimble number 10s Alejandro Gomez and Josip Ilicic squaring up to City's midfield two at centre-back – Rodri and Fernandinho – felt like something two of football's stylistic romantics might have dreamt up together.

However, Gasperini was becoming increasingly exasperated by the manner his side, who let a 3-0 lead slip to draw 3-3 at Lazio on Sunday, were neglecting the most familiar footballing trait of their homeland.

Aguero was in no mood to pass up further chances and gobbled up a floated 34th-minute delivery from Raheem Sterling, who was once again City's star performer.

Masiello, a well-worn 33-year-old central defender who looks to have been reared on boots and knees to the head along with slide tackles in gravel, was spared by Gasperini at the break. He scythed emphatically through Sterling for the penalty from which Aguero put City ahead for the first time.

The second-half became the Raheem Sterling Show, but Foden was at least co-producer alongside the immaculate Gundogan.

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